I get it. I understand the harsh economics of brick and mortar retail in general, and bike shops in particular. If you can't make money, you can't stay in business, and many are not doing either.
So I told the PT that I'd been a mechanic for a long time and I'd be happy to take a look at it. As I've often mentioned, I'm losing the grease under my fingernails and that makes me sad. It seemed like a good project to exercise my mechanical brain a little, so I brought it home, and started digging in.
Giving the shops the benefit of the doubt, the first real obstacle I encountered was a non-threaded crank arm. You see that, you wonder how it's gonna come off. Prior to Campy Powertorque, it would've been even more confusing, because virtually all crankarms were threaded. However, any mechanic worth his salt, especially one who's dealt with Campy, should know that pullers exist for all kinds of things without threads. Luckily, my dad was a Snap-on dealer forever, and I knew he'd have something in the garage. He did:
I guessed, probably correctly, that removing a whole link would be too much - even with the tensioning pulley backed off as much as possible, the chain would be too tight. What to do, what to do...?
Luckily, I've been a misguided singlespeeder for a while now, and in the interest of getting my Leftiachi all tukt and shit, I usually have a half link lurking in a bin somewhere. Bingo. Full link out, half link in, master link back in, and the chain is tensioned perfectly:
- All told, the fix took me probably 20 minutes. It was really, really easy
- It seems the shops didn't even bother to try to figure it out. If they had, they should've realized what an easy fix this would be.
- And that means they missed an opportunity. At my old shop, the rate was $60/hour, and that was 10 years ago. A shop that could've fixed this in the same amount of time as a washed-up old mechanic could've easily made money on this. The PT office would've been paying, and while I'm not suggesting any shop pad their hours, you could've charged them 60 bucks and they wouldn't have batted an eye.
- They also missed the chance to become the shop for the PT's office. That place has a whole room full of bikes. They're all "weird," but they're all simple. You get a PT's office bringing you bikes, and you've got a cash cow, not to mention the chance to work on something out of the ordinary every once in a while. Maybe you don't want to take this on in June, when every fred wants his bike yesterday, but what else are you doing this time of year? Let your mechanics dig into shit like this. You're not gonna lose any more money that you would be otherwise and they get to stretch their brains.